Permission – Do You Have It?

Permission – do I need it?

Some Writers love to quote others work believing it adds validation to their subject; commonly quoted from famous people like Shakespeare, Wordsworth; Deepak Chopra, Oprah Winfrey to name just a few.

Recently one of my authors placed around 10 quotes in her draft book, but now has to decide whether to keep them or not as trying to track down the original source for the quotation has become a very time-consuming activity. The exact quotation has to be sought from the publisher of the item giving original publisher information, ISBN, amount of words and such other information.

She wrote the quotations into her draft a while ago using quotes from a website. Unfortunately she cannot just quote the website as the source and we had to find the source of every quotation. It was often very difficult to trace the original source of a quotation, then requesting and gaining permission before going to print.

So when you are in the throes of writing your book, and you want to add a beautiful quotation to your work, please take care if you quote someone else, use a photograph, or an illustration that is not yours and make sure that you have a good idea of where the actual quote, picture, illustration originated from. You need to obtain permission to use anyone else’s work in your book!

A really good practice for you as the author would be to note down everything you can about the quotation you want to use. This will make it a little easier for your assistant to track down and gain permission for you.

The following tips may assist you:
– Develop a system of record keeping
– where you viewed or heard the quotation, photograph, illustration
– in a book?
– in an interview?
– in a television program?

In this record keeping database you will need to record the following information:
– If it was in a book, which book, by which author and which publisher, did it give the ISBN (International Standard Book Number)?
– If it was an interview – who was interviewing whom, was it an article in a magazine or a radio or television program, the date you saw/heard the interview?
– If it was an illustration, who did the illustration and where did you see it?

This is only the beginning of the activity because once we have obtained this basic information we then have to find out if the quotation, photograph, illustration was an original from the author himself or if it was a quotation from the author but in someone else’s book/magazine/blog.

It is also critical to remember when you find out the source of your quote, that to gain permission can take up to 8 weeks, so you need to get onto obtaining permissions sooner rather than later as the time factor could be essential for your printing schedule.

When obtaining permission you will have to given out the following information before permission is granted:The following is an excerpt from a publisher that requested information from us before granting permission for us to use his quotation:

 Exact material you are requesting from us.

 Photocopy of requested material, including the title, page number and
paragraph where the requested quote(s) can be found in our books.

 Total number of words of requested quote(s).

 Title of your book, newsletter or other publication.

 Your mailing address, telephone number and email address

 Name of the editor and publisher of your publication.

And the list goes on and on and on.

So you can see from this how important and time-critical obtaining these permissions are. Make sure that you have obtained all the necessary permissions from the origin source for your book well before your book goes to print or you could end up delaying the launch of your book or omitting an important element of your book as you have not obtained the necessary permissions. At worst you could be facing litigation if you have not obtained permission to use other people’s quotations/photographs/illustrations.


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